OKEZIE IKPEAZU: A DECONSTRUCTION

Posted by Sam Hart | 8 years ago | 3,631 times



"My father was a teacher and my mother was a nurse. Growing up, due to my admiration for my father's strong values, I decided I would be a teacher too. I set out to achieve this dream by making a conscious effort to excel in my academics such that before my 30th birthday, I already had a Ph.D in Applied Biochemistry. I have taught in four Universities with my last stint in the classroom as the Head, Department of Biochemistry at the Enugu State University of Technology. I was on my way to becoming a Professor until my people invited me to come and be their Local Government Chairman in 2002. Thus began my odyssey in government which has seen me occupy various tutelage positions culminating in my position today as a strong contender for the governorship of Abia State."

The above is a verbatim reproduction of the opening speech of Dr. Okezie Victor Chibuikem Ikpeazu during a meeting with Peoples Democratic Party delegates at Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.

Dr. Ikpeazu is today the frontline contender for the ticket of the PDP for the governorship of Abia State. Unless an unforseen development of cataclysmic proportions were to occur, he is as good as the governor-in-waiting of Abia State come May 29, 2015.

Considering his position, it has become necessary to interrogate the man behind the name so as to understand the factors that make him who he is and how he got to this consequential position.

I count myself privileged to have known Dr. Ikpeazu for 11 years now, a position I take the liberty of assuming places me in good stead to discuss him and his personality. Here is a gentleman by every stretch of the expression. Humble to a fault, amiable, unassuming and permanently endowed with a winning personality. It would be very difficult to find anyone in Abia State and beyond who has an unkind word to say about him.

Today, an array of gladiatorial contenders are angling to take over from Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji when his tenure as Governor of Abia State comes to an end on May 29, 2015. I will be the first to concede that placed side by side with the other contenders, Dr. Ikpeazu may fall short in terms of human and worldly assessments. At this juncture, I will quote what Pastor George Izuwa said during a sermon to mark the first anniversary of Streams of Joy International in Umuahia on November 30, 2014. He said "When you're the least qualified in the eyes of men, then rejoice for you're the most qualified in the eyes of God". He gave several scriptural examples to back up his assertion. From David to Solomon, Rehab to Moses and even Jesus Christ Himself.

This assertion is buttressed by the fact that among the contenders for the governorship of Abia State today, Dr. Ikpeazu is the one with the least war chest. While other contenders boast of intimidating National and International connections, Dr. Ikpeazu is a humble 'Aba boy'. Where there are ex Ministers, ex Bank Chiefs, serving Senators, Diplomats and billionaires in the race, Dr. Ikpeazu's last known public position was as a lowly Deputy General Manager of the agency in charge of refuse collection in Aba! No wonder the Bible in 1 Samuel 2 v 8 said that "I will lift the poor from the dunghill and set him amongst princes".

While some of the contenders boast personal long-standing friendships with the high and the mighty, Dr. Ikpeazu has no known name to drop if his life depended on it. Alas, this is the man that God has obviously chosen to be the next governor of Abia State.

Incidentally, Dr. Ikpeazu's 'weakness' in the above departments are today his greatest strengths. He is as accessible as he is down to earth. His humble mien means that he is friends with all and sundry. He attends rallies and calls most members of the audience by their names and nicknames. He knows them, they know him. He drives the same kind of car they drive, he eats where they eat, he plays football with them every weekend, he knows their story because he lives where they live.

The Ikpeazu governorship movement is powered by the people. Where money would otherwise be required to mobilise attendees to a political rally, people troop in droves to him because they know him and need no further motivation to be drawn to him.

I take the liberty of disclosing occurrences at some of his political engagements which I have been privileged to attend. He has toured all the 17 Local Government Areas in Abia State and at the end of each event, the practice is that the aspirant will drop some money to defray the transportation expenses of the attendees. In most of these Local Governments he has toured, a tear-worthy phenomenon keeps recurring. When he drops money to the organisers of the rally, they usually accept the money (in Igboland, the custom is that you do not reject a gift) and then turn around to donate the same money back into his campaign with a promise to contribute more and support the campaign. This is a dimension I am witnessing for the first time in a political season in Nigeria!

Dr. Ikpeazu's campaign a acronym is 'Okezuo Abia' meaning let every part of Abia receive a portion of the state. It is an acronym hinged on justice and equity. The other regions of Abia State have had the opportunity to govern the state and today, in the interest of equity and fairness, the Ukwa-Ngwa people of Abia State have the chance to take their turn.

Kudos must at this point go to the incumbent Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji for championing this equitable political reality. It is instructive that previous administrations have made this same promise to hand over power to the Ukwa Ngwa bloc with Nine L.G.As out of the Seventeen L.G.As in Abia State but they always found means of reneging on their promises until today when Governor Orji has followed through with the promise and even taken it beyond truncation by getting the state chapter of the PDP to pass a resolution zoning the governorship of Abia in 2015 to Abia South Senatorial Zone.

Politicians quote God copiously when making campaign speeches but in the case of Dr. Ikpeazu, he does not need to sermonise. The hand of God is glaringly evident in his trajectory and emergence. One of his hitherto strongest opponents, Senator Enyi Abaribe hosted him recently in his house and conceded the ticket to him with a direction to his teeming supporters to support the candidature of Dr. Ikpeazu. To Senator Abaribe, all he has been championing since he joined politics has been for an opportunity for his zone to govern Abia State and now that the dream is becoming a reality, he is high-minded enough to realise that undue rancour and acrimony may create a hedge through which a serpent may enter and truncate the Abia South Governorship project and having seen that Dr. Ikpeazu is the popular choice, he has no hesitation in conceding the ticket to him.

Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu will pick your call, return your missed call, reply your SMS and relate with you as a friend and not as a boss or superior. This is his essence and this is why he is the popular choice of Abians. They know he will excel in office. His Ph.D in Biochemistry is proof that he is used to scientific analysis of issues before proffering solutions to them. Aba is the one zone in Abia State clamouring for indigenously formulated developmental vision and as an Aba boy through and through, who better than him to proffer solutions to the problem of Aba?

The Okezuo Abia train is moving at great speed. Abians are getting on board in droves. Exciting times are ahead and the state is in a frenzy of expectation. All key political leaders in Abia State have endorsed the candidature of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and all the people of Abia are praying for today is life and good health to witness the swearing-in of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu as governor of Abia State come May 29, 2015.

Hart wrote from Umuahia.


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